Jam Packed UK, Haddington, East Lothian



The Haddington community (and beyond) welcomed us with their unforgettable enthusiasm, drive and excitement to host and plan a Jam Packed computing festival.

Teachers from surrounding secondary and primary schools, software developers, families, community friends, council representatives and members of the tech community came together at Knox Academy for this 2 day computing festival featuring 3 events.

Andy McSwan and David Gilmour were instrumental in bringing everybody together so it seems fitting to use their thoughts, words, photographs and general artistic flair & style to write this guest post.

Hack to the Future – Friday


Photo courtesy of David Gilmour – full gallery below *

“We joined up with the Jam Packed team to welcome 59 pupils from primary schools across East Lothian for our Hack to the Future Event. During the morning the pupils got to experience 4 different activities from digital storytelling using Twine, making a plain game in scratch interesting, coding a squirrel using Python and hacking Minecraft on the Raspberry Pi. All pupils spoke positivly of the event.” Andy McSwan.


Play – Hack – Share

The children became involved in 3 workshops as teachers used the opportunities through ‘pedagogy in practice’ to plan, reflect and extend their own networks.   Ideas shared between primary and secondary schools, not just transitional projects, built on existing and new partner activities.


Building on the local teacher network

The digital creators very quickly became accomplished ‘drivers and navigators’ as they shared challenges to collaborate on gaming projects, and used peer review techniques to improve their work.


Team Challenges


Games’ hack

Using ‘Sabotage‘ as a tool to debug their projects proved popular to all and particularly to teachers citing multiple variations on the theme to take forward.


Review time


Hack for good? Hack for mischief?

The carousel of activities were based around a Raspberry Pi classroom and Gaming Lab in the school’s library which gave us the flexibility to share ideas throughout the day.



As always with Jam Packed we were thrilled to have software developers and specialists from industry to join us throughout the weekend and to bring their expertise and enthusiasm to the children’s projects.


Collaborations with industry gaming developers. Minecraft anybody?

Teacher feedback:

“Seeing how I can implement Twine and Raspberry Pi into my own class….great to see how to use these resources” Emma Webster

“Raspberry Pi Minecraft was a new experience for my pupils” Karla Pearce

“To me, Twine was fascinating” A Murdoch

“Opportunities to discover new ideas such as Twine and physical computing options (electric paint) and to hear how others are using them” David Gilmour

“Some of the best CPD possible…..and a sense of community” Andy McSwan

“Pupils were wholly engaged with the projects this morning. Gave me a chance to see how I can share these ideas with colleagues” Kirsty Dunn

Family Hack Jam – Friday evening


“The Family Hack Jam brought together groups from all over the Lothians with some coming from the city centre to participate. They created interactive stories ranging from the fate of Sherlock Holmes, who was having a pint in an Edinburgh pub, to a grisly ending for Justin Bieber. Just watching families sit down together to create and collaborate using Computing Science skills together was a great sight – Something I hope as a community we can build on in the future!” Andy McSwan


Newly formed collaborations at the Hack Jam

Families, friends, and a newly formed Dad’s team worked together to produce their collaborations using either Twine to create an interactive fiction piece or Scratch to produce a game.


Sharing through digital storytelling

Teacher feedback:

“Positive aspects were collaborative work from the children and learning about a program that will be easy to introduce in class” Angie Kinghorn

“Family community involvement” Kirsty Dunn

“Great ideas I can use with classes on Monday” Andy McSwan

Raspberry Jam – Saturday


Pi-Zone at the Jam

“The Raspberry Jam itself was like a whirlwind…..the highlight of the weekend however was the 8 year old girl who led a workshop on Sonic Pi (with a little help from Claire of course).  From my point of view it was great to see what’s possible for our young people and at a very early age with a little bit of encouragement.” Andy McSwan



With the usual Raspberry Jam recipe of workshops, Pi-Zone, project areas and hack space and also room to share thoughts with a lightning talk, there was a variety of activities for everybody attending; young and more mature : )


Live coding with Sonic Pi


Testing, testing : )

Again, the younger generation were instrumental in sharing their experiences and talents as robotics and data projects though music were shared and which inspired all.



We introduced some visitors to programming for the first time using Python and took the Pygames and Raspberry Pi Dots boards tools to create shared projects.


DOTS board with Pi


Teacher feedback:

“Kodu was interesting, Sonic Pi was also really interesting and Minecraft was fun” David Gilmour

“Lots of things to take back to school” Kirsty Dunn

“Positive aspects included meeting new people working with computing in the area” Kate Farrell

* More from David’s Photo Gallery

Jam Packed UK’s Photo Gallery link.